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  Linksys ProConnect 2-Port KVM Switch
 
 

Evaluation

I really wanted to love this switch. However, the best thing that I can say about it is...it works as advertised. Whoa, so what's the problem? Well, the switch has two major problems. The first isn't really Linksys' problem; it's apparent on other manufacturer's switches as well. The switch doesn't support 4th mouse buttons or scroll wheels*. Once the mouse is connected to the switch, those functions are disabled. The Belkin literature (for the OmniView mentioned above) even goes as far to say you should use generic 2-button mouse drivers! While it's not the end of the world, it's pretty frustrating to lose those features.

The other problem, however, renders the switch useless for me. Instead of having to reach for the button on the switch to change PC's, they have built in a keyboard shortcut. Sounds like a great feature right? It would be except that they have made the keyboard shortcut CTRL CTRL. If you hit the CTRL key twice quickly, you will change PC's. The CTRL key?? Why would they choose a key that is used often? I use the CTRL key for firing during games. Imagine what happens when you fire rapidly. Yes, you get the strobe effect as you switch back and forth between PC's! Also, if you use the CTRL key for editing (CTRL C, CTRL V, etc.), an inadvertant double stroke on the CTRL key will switch PC's. This is unbelievable. Unfortunately, the hotkey can neither be changed nor disabled. In contrast, while it is also unchangeable, the Belkin unit uses the Scroll Lock key. This is a much more logical choice because the Scroll Lock is basically obsolete in today's computing experience.

This is some hope, though, because their 4-port switch uses a a keyboard combination of ALT CTRL SHIFT # (where #=1,2,3 and 4). While it is a little more cumbersome, it prevents accidental switching of PC's. Also, the 4-port version has Auto-Scan, which allows you to automatically cycle between your PC's. That option is not available on the 2-port version.

I recommend getting the switch kit instead of just the switch alone. While it doesn't cost a lot more ($18), the SuperVGA cables are worth the price. They are normally $23 each! I tried standard VGA cables on the Belkin switch and the signal degradation was unacceptable.

Conclusion

Pros

-- Low Price
-- Excellent Cables

Cons

-- No 4th Mouse Button or Scroll Wheel support
-- Poor hotkey choice and implementation
-- No Auto-Scan capability

Because of the hardcoded CTRL CTRL hotkey, I can't recommend this switch. In somes circumstances, its limited capabilities might meet somebody's requirements. But for everyone else, I'd go with the 4-port switch...even if you have to buy the cables separately.

* I've received reports of some people getting mouse wheel support with this switch...your mileage may vary.

Previous Page    
Table of Contents
Page 1: Features and Construction
Page 2: Evaluation and Conclusion

 
      Posted by: , March 18, 2001, 6:00 pm  

 
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